Exactly

This is a wonderful article from Alter.net, which expresses exactly how I’ve been feeling. This is the first page of several, so be sure to read the whole article.

America: Why R Your Peeps So Dum?
U.S. culture is going down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.
December 9, 2010

JoeBageant.com / By Joe Bageant

If you hang out much with thinking people, conversation eventually turns to the serious political and cultural questions of our times. Such as: How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked? Much of the world, including plenty of Americans, asks that question as they watch U.S. culture go down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.

One explanation might be the effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp, and 44 ounce Big Gulp soft drinks. Another might be pop culture, which is not culture at all of course, but marketing. Or we could blame it on digital autism: Ever watch commuter monkeys on the subway poking at digital devices, stroking the touch screen for hours on end? That wrinkled Neolithic brows above the squinting red eyes?

But a more reasonable explanation is that, (A) we don’t even know we are doing it, and (B) we cling to institutions dedicated to making sure we never find out.

As William Edwards Deming famously demonstrated, no system can understand itself, and why it does what it does, including the American social system. Not knowing shit about why your society does what it makes for a pretty nasty case of existential unease. So we create institutions whose function is to pretend to know, which makes everyone feel better. Unfortunately, it also makes the savviest among us — those elites who run the institutions — very rich, or safe from the vicissitudes that buffet the rest of us.

Directly or indirectly, they understand that the real function of American social institutions is to justify, rationalize and hide the true purpose of cultural behavior from the lumpenproletariat, and to shape that behavior to the benefit of the institution’s members. “Hey, they’re a lump. Whaddya expect us to do?”

Doubting readers may consider America’s health institutions, the insurance corporations, hospital chains, physicians’ lobbies. Between them they have established a perfectly legal right to clip you and me for thousands of dollars at their own discretion. That we so rabidly defend their right to gouge us, given all the information available in the digital age, mystifies the world.

Two hundred years ago no one would have thought sheer volume of available facts in the digital information age would produce informed Americans. Founders of the republic, steeped in the Enlightenment as they were, and believers in an informed citizenry being vital to freedom and democracy, would be delirious with joy at the prospect. Imagine Jefferson and Franklin high on Google.

The fatal assumption was that Americans would choose to think and learn, instead of cherry picking the blogs and TV channels to reinforce their particular branded choice cultural ignorance, consumer, scientific or political, but especially political. Tom and Ben could never have guessed we would chase prepackaged spectacle, junk science, and titillating rumor such as death panels, Obama as a socialist Muslim and Biblical proof that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs around Eden. In a nation that equates democracy with everyman’s right to an opinion, no matter how ridiculous, this was probably inevitable. After all, dumb people choose dumb stuff. That’s why they are called dumb.

But throw in sixty years of television’s mind puddling effects, and you end up with 24 million Americans watching Bristol Palin thrashing around on Dancing with the Stars, then watch her being interviewed with all seriousness on the networks as major news. The inescapable conclusion of half of heartland America is that her mama must certainly be presidential material, even if Bristol cannot dance. It ain’t a pretty picture out there in Chattanooga and Keokuk.

The other half, the liberal half, concludes that Bristol’s bad dancing is part of her spawn-of-the-Devil mama’s plan to take over the country, and make millions in the process, not to mention make Tina Fey and Jon Stewart richer than they already are. That’s a tall order for a squirrel brained woman who recently asked a black president to “refudiate” the NAACP (though I kinda like refudiate, myself). Cultural stupidity accounts for virtually every aspect of Sarah Palin, both as a person and a political icon. Which, come to think of it, may be a pretty good reason not to “misunderstimate” her. After all, we’re still talking about her in both political camps. And the woman OWNS the Huffington Post, fer Christsake. Not to mention a franchise on cultural ignorance.

Asst. Attorney General, Clearly A Closet Case, Attacks Gay Student

I Was Wrong – I Love The Teabaggers

Wow. The Republican Party is headed for extinction! Thank God. This is a self-inflicted wound by a desperate and rather evil party. I grew up a Republican, and I don’t recognize this party any more.

From Newser:

Tea Party Candidate Thinks He’s the Messiah
TIM D’ANNUNZIO BELIEVES GOD WILL DROP A PYRAMID ON GREENLAND

(NEWSER) – Republican leaders have declared open war on Tim D’Annunzio, a Tea Party-backed North Carolina congressional candidate who they fear may be insane. They’re publicizing documents from D’Annunzio’s divorce, in which his wife testifies that he called himself the messiah, predicted God would drop a 1,000-mile high pyramid on Greenland, and claimed to have found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona. A doctor also revealed that he smokes pot almost every day, reports the AP

Years later, a judge ruled that he had willfully skipped child support payments, adding that he’d described himself as a “religious zealot” who considered the government the “Antichrist.” The chairman of the North Carolina GOP says D’Annunzio “has disqualified himself by his background, his record and his behavior.” But he might actually win; he got more votes in initial primary voting than anyone else, and has plenty of cash for his runoff with local sportscaster Harold Johnson.

Angry Teabagger Is A Symbol of America’s Slide into Insanity

Do I need to comment?

Source

BONUS – Bill Maher destroys the Tea Baggers!

McCain Says He’s No Maverick — I’m Confused

McCain Says He's No Maverick

As he faces a potentially tough Republican U.S. Senate primary in Arizona, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) no longer claims the “Maverick” mantle, Newsweek reports. In fact, he now denies he ever was one.

Said McCain: “I never considered myself a maverick.”

Of course, the New York Times noted McCain's presidential campaign in 2008 released an ad calling him the “original maverick.”

via McCain Says He’s No Maverick — Political Wire.

Idiot

What else can one say about such commentary? It would be funny if the guy wasn’t serious. What I find amazing is this: are heterosexual men so weak that they will “turn gay” simply by being asked? That sounds rather pathetic to me.

From ••here••:

Gay Military: Parental Heartbreak

As a former staff sergeant, war veteran and drill instructor in the Marine Corps, I believe the repeal this law will cause living hell within the ranks of the military, and also for the moms and dads whose kids are serving. It will be heartbreaking when a son comes home and says to his parents ‘I’m gay’ when he didn’t leave home gay.

When it comes to gays in the military, it is not a question of them not being patriotic or not physically fit. Unfortunately, they are not morally fit. Their lifestyle has disqualified them to serve.

One must understand that a homosexual person does not reproduce (homosexuals recruit). When I was a young Marine, one tried to recruit me into that lifestyle. It caused panic and fear to come over me. It is not discrimination or hate speech toward the gays, it is simply saying no.

These young people will be exposed to strong sexual attractions, and some will give themselves over to it because they are young and vulnerable.

Repeal the don’t ask, don’t tell policy and you will have the men who serve in an uproar. You will have open sex in the barracks, name calling, real threats and fighting among the troops, and even worse the violence of blanket parties. Late at night, some men will throw a blanket over a gay person and beat the life out of him. The repeal of this policy will give way to violence, no matter how much instruction is given by their leaders.

Also, you will have disunity on the battlefield.

Today, if my son was going into the military, I would be more concerned about him coming home a gay person than worrying about him getting wounded or killed in battle.

We are becoming a pathetic nation with no clear moral values.

RICHARD GRANT

Lakeland

A murdered spy and coded messages from beyond the grave

This is an excerpt from a really fascinating article. I don’t care that much for Shakespeare, but this is well worth the read.

A murdered spy and coded messages from beyond the grave… Will opening this tomb prove Shakespeare didn't write his plays?

By Richard Price

Some believe Fulke Greville was the true author of several of Shakespeare's (pictured) works

Tucked away in a seldom-visited corner of a Warwickshire chapel sits a monument of incongruous grandeur for its surroundings.

Not many visitors happen upon it; perhaps a thousand in a good year. Of them only a handful will have heard of the man who built it. Yet that man, Fulke Greville, is currently at the heart of a truly compelling mystery.

A prominent 17th-century nobleman, Greville was a renowned scholar, soldier, statesman and spy.

Like his dearest friend Sir Philip Sidney, he was also an accomplished author.

So talented, indeed, that some believe he was the true author of several of Shakespeare's works.

via A murdered spy and coded messages from beyond the grave… Will opening this tomb prove Shakespeare didn’t write his plays? | Mail Online.